Planning on spending your special day in the Windy City? If you’re looking for birthday ideas, Chicago has plenty of unique local ways to celebrate, from sailing on Lake Michigan to eating your way through Chicago’s best deep-dish-pizza joints.
The best ways to celebrate your birthday in Chicago
As a vibrant city full of cool attractions, epic views, and great restaurants, Chicago is the ultimate birthday-party package. As City Experiences offers everything from walking tours to river and lake cruises, you can easily fit multiple activities into a single day, guaranteeing the best birthday party ever. Here are some fun things to do on your birthday in Chicago.
1. Go for a sightseeing cruise on Lake Michigan
Thanks to Chicago’s prime location on Lake Michigan’s southern shore, it’s easy to hop on a boat and spend your special day cruising along the Chicago waterfront with City Cruises Chicago.
Thrill-seekers can zoom along the shoreline aboard the Seadog speedboat, zipping past famous icons of the Chicago skyline for a ride that’s equally fun and informative. If you want to get up-close to the city’s famous landmarks, you can opt for an architectural boat tour through the Chicago River.
2. Visit classic Chicago institutions
If you’re visiting Chicago on your birthday, you should do things you can only find in Chicago. Explore the lush gardens of Lincoln Park, view world-class art and historical treasures at famed museums, like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Field Museum of Natural History, take fun photos at Cloud Gate (the Bean) in Millennium Park, see the sights on Navy Pier, head to a rooftop bar for a drink, and much more.
The nightlife scene in Chicago is also legendary: Once the sun goes down, you can belt out your favorite songs at a karaoke bar, laugh until you cry at a comedy club, or get a taste of childhood nostalgia at an arcade bar, where you can drink and play arcade games at the same time.
3. See a different side of Chicago on a historical walking tour
If you love history, you can explore the city’s exciting past on a range of walking tours, including highlights of the best of Chicago, take a deep dive into the time of speakeasies, gangster hang-outs, and bootlegging on the crime and mob–themed tour, or learn about the city’s haunted past with a ghosts and gangsters tour.
4. Dance, dine, or drink on a Lake Michigan cruise
Along with sightseeing along the Chicago shoreline, going on a dining cruise on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River is one of the best ways to celebrate your birthday.
You can enjoy bottomless mimosas and a fancy buffet on a brunch cruise or an upscale lunch or dinner cruise, or admire Chicago’s architectural treasures over craft cocktails and wine on the Sights and Sips cruise. For something extra-special, take an evening tour for a front-row view of the fireworks, or hit the dance floor on a boat with an after-dark dance cruise with drinks and small bites aplenty.
5. Hang out at the beach
If your birthday falls during the summer months, there’s nothing more classically Chicago than spending the day on a lakefront beach. North Avenue Beach and Oak Street Beach are two of the most popular, easily accessible from the city center and offering broad, sandy beaches, beautiful views, and casual dining and drinking.
Chicago’s multicultural population has made it one of the most diverse, eclectic dining cities in America, and food lovers will have a field day sampling the best of Chicago cuisine on a food tour. The West Loop is one of Chicago’s best foodie districts, where you can go from a James Beard award-winner to a beloved family-owned institution in just a few blocks.
Birthday parties? More like pizza parties! Fewer things scream “Chicago” more than deep-dish pizza, so what better way to enjoy your birthday here than by eating your way through the city’s best pizza joints? You can even take guided pizza tours to make sure you visit the best pizzerias in each neighborhood, from downtown to the West Loop.
What better place to celebrate your birthday than at the place Chicago was born? With a local guide, go on a riverwalk tour to wander along the Chicago River and explore adjacent neighborhoods, such as River North, to learn all about the city’s history and famous landmarks, like the Magnificent Mile and Tribune Tower.
Celebrate your birthday the Chicago way
Chicago has plenty of unique, one-of-a-kind things to do and see to make your special day stand out. Many are easily bookable and accessible with our City Experiences Chicago tours, so you can spend less time planning and more time celebrating.